With huge horns
Whose antlers shed
Then regrow each year.
Big body in the North Woods
Males bugle, then chase the rut,
Fight massive jousts for dominance.
Distinguishable by deer’s “white rump”,
American people’s grant name –“Wapiti”.
Northern hemisphere’s fraternal order,
Formed to avoid bar closing rules.
They support local charities.
The order of the Elk.
Bury at Elk’s Rest
Loyal to Flag
When I was in a Cemetery recently, I came across this strange monument of a large Elk. The plaque read “Elk’s Rest”. I took a photo and then moved on, wondering what that was all about. So, I later Googled the words and found out that that section of the cemetery is reserved for members of the Elk’s Lodge. The full name of the organization is – The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, or BPOE. It is a fraternal organization first founded in New York by former theatrical workers who needed a drinking spot to stay legally open past bar closing laws. It’s Grand Lodge now is headquartered in Chicago, and has evolved over time to provide assistence to its members and charity to other local organizations. One of its benefits was to provide local cemetery plots to its members when they die. These plots are known as Elk’s Rest. That explains the statue.
The true Elk is one of the largest mammals on the North American continent and is a member of the deer family. Native Americans, the Cree and the Shawnee, named it “Wapiti” because of its “white rump”.
This poem is a a set of two Etheree.
This first about the mammal, and the second about the Order.
The poetry form, Etheree, consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. No rhyme scheme required.
This photograph was taken by the author himself at Lakewood Cemetery of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2015.